Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice
The Texas Department of Public Safety Tactical Marine Unit’s law enforcement authority does not extend to stopping people crossing the border. Whether the Tactical Marine Unit, colloquially known as the New Texas Navy, possesses sufficient legal authority to enforce federal law is questionable. Arizona v. United States affirmed the principles of federalism and the preemption doctrine. However, the Court suggested that State officers were legally permitted to “cooperate” with the U.S. Attorney General in the identification, apprehension, and detention of illegal aliens. But, this does not allow a State to unilaterally choose to enforce federal law, which the New Texas Navy does when operating without the participation of a federal agency. There is some law enforcement authority for the New Texas Navy to operate, but it does not possess the authority to operate unilaterally to stop people from crossing the border.
Bill Piatt and Rachel Ambler, Border Wars & The New Texas Navy: International Treaties, Waterways, And State Sovereignty After Arizona v. United States, 15 Scholar 535 (2013).